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Okanagan Military Museum

 

AIR FORCE

Canadians distinguished themselves in the air flying with the Royal Air Force and Navy during WWI. Some of that war's greatest allied aces such as Bishop and Barker were Canadians.

During WWII Canada and Canadians again played a pivotal role in the air war both in aerial combat and as a vast training ground for allied aircrew - the Aerodrome of Democracy - as named by US president Roosevelt.

Canadians flew with the RAF but also formed their own squadrons and wings and by D-Day Canadian fighter squadrons flew over the Canadian beaches while RCAF Typhoon fighter-bomber squadrons destroyed the panzers moving to counter-attack. RCAF tactical bomber squadrons pressed home attacks against troop concentrations and railways behind the lines.

The Canadians flying in Bomber Command endured a long, lonely war of attrition fought in the dark while coastal and transport command squadrons flew around the globe defeating threats at sea and supporting the allies on land. Canada's most celebrated fighter ace won many aerial victories in defence of the beleaguered island of Malta while others had fought in the Battle of Britain, with the famous Dambusters and in the heaviest battles of Bomber Command.

After the war the air force flew over western Europe as part of NATO's air defence and over our skies with NORAD squadrons. The air force continues to support operations around the globe and Canadian aircrews risk their lives in dangerous search and rescue missions here in Canada.

Many Canadian aircrew fell with their aircraft in the massive air battles that took place over Europe in both world wars. Others have been lost in peacetime training or in air operations while saving lives or supporting military missions.

Video shot by Mark Beckwith on 11 Sep, 2004 at Welland, Ontario, Canada of the Battle of Britain flypast by a Spitfire IX belonging to Mr. Ed Russell and a Lancaster from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum of Hamilton, Ontario.
 
RCAF March Past

"HIGH FLIGHT"
By John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

 

 

Click on image to see a Real Player full length (49 min)WWII RAF movie "Target for Tonight" at

 

SegunArt All rights reserved no duplication of site images or content without permission. Webmaster Walter Viita. Contact:www.okmilmuseum.ca.